NRL players will be thick on the ground in the Auckland Vulacans much-anticipated eighth-round New South Wales Cup clash against Cronulla at Henson Park in Sydney (1.00pm kick-off local time; 3.00pm NZT).
The contest pits the unbeaten Sharks seven from seven against the improving Vulcans, up to fifth on the ladder after recording back-to-back victories in their last two outings against the Mounties and Wests Tigers.
The Sharks, though, have seemed to be on another level from other contenders so far this season and can point to an array of players with NRL experience including fullback Nathan Gardner, centres Maurice Blair and Matthew Wright, halfback Chad Townsend, prop Mark Taufua and, most notably, the much-travelled Brett Finch at standoff. Also in the side is former Vodafone Junior Warrior Sosaia Feki.
The Vulcans dont lack for players of NRL experience either with Vodafone Warriors Glen Fisiiahi at fullback, Konrad Hurrell in the centres, Carlos Tuimavave and Harry Siejka in the halves, Sebastine Ikahihifo in the back row and hooker Alehana Mara on the bench. There are also links to the Vodafone Warriors in some other NRL squad players in props Charlie Gubb and Suaia Matagi plus second rower John Palavi, Vodafone Junior Warriors-eligible Siliva Havili and former Vodafone Junior Warriors Agnatius Paasi and Daniel Palavi.
AUCKLAND VULCANS v CRONULLA
Henson Park, Sydney
1.00pm, Saturday, May 04
Referee: Lawrence McDonell
HEAD COACH: WILLIE SWANN